I saw this movie last fall and for some strange reason, never wrote a review. Hmm, weird. Now the movie is out on BluRay and DVD and I get to watch it again. And so I did and here is the scoop. Some soft spoilers are ahead.
This story tells the tale of the Rogue One squadron that got the plans for the Death Star that were used to find the weakness in the ultimate weapon of mass destruction at the command of the evil Emperor. Buahahaha! At the conclusion of the original movie in 1977 these plans showed a flaw in the design that would allow a single well placed shot to cause a cascade reaction that would and in fact did destroy the whole station. That is a classic ‘Achilles Heel’ right there.
In the original ‘Star Wars, A New Hope’ we never really knew exactly how these plans conveniently landed in the hands of the rebellion. Rogue One shows us that it wasn’t “convenient” at all. Unlike the other Star Wars movies that focused largely on the primary characters and their ability to wield the mighty force, and of course Han Solo and Chewbacca who are just regular badasses, this new movie has very little “force”. For those expecting a whole lot of light saber duals, force pushing baddies away, and death grip force chokes from the dark side; you might be a little disappointed. You will get a tickle of that but this film is more about the rebels and not so much the Emperor or Darth Vader. The rest of us get to watch a fabulous, fresh new take on a tired old franchise.
Rouge One is a surprisingly good movie. One need not be a Star Wars fan to understand the plot nor follow the action and dialog. We will see some cheesy CGI used in a few select scenes, to make current aging actors look 40 years younger, yes my friends, the original Star Wars turns 40 this year! Holy Adult Diapers, Batman, how the hell did that happen? Well it did, so deal with it 😉
Rouge One takes place just before the original opening sequence of Star Wars and the movie ends literally moments before the beginning of the original film. This is a nice tie in to the original trilogy without a lot of pomp and circumstance but rather a gritty tale of guts and determination. This film shows the ugly side of the rebellion in the sense that we see that the good guys sometimes have to do bad stuff for the cause.
I hope Disney decides to expand on this idea of the sub stories or Star Wars rather than try to do a reboot in the future after completeling Episode 8 this year and 9 presumably in 2 years. There are a great many of these stories that can be told. How about the story of Lando and how he acquired the cloud city, how he lost the Falcon to Han Solo “fair and square”. We could go back to the beginning of Chewbacca and Han Solo’s relationship. We could do a Boba Fett story, or even the story between Episode V and VI where Luke continues his training. He did jump from junior Padawan to pretty badass Jedi between those films. So many possibilities and no need to reboot the franchise.
Rogue One delivers the goods, it’s not the best Star Wars movie ever made, but it is a fresh new look at a well developed franchise. Many didn’t like the Shakespearian end, I however did. Star Wars movies are well-known for their consistent plots that feature easy to identify good guys, obvious villains and usually a princess needs to be saved somewhere… yada yada yada. It’s like the plot of nearly every Disney animated movie ever made. Star Wars movies always have that classic ending where everyone lives happy ever after… at least until the next Death Star arrives.
But here comes Disney with Rogue One and there is no princess, no dashing leading man off to save her, no young learner finding his place at just the right time. None of that weak sauce that we have seen so many times we can quote the dialog in a movie we haven’t seen yet. Rouge One did not follow the mold, it is a ‘rogue’ Star Wars movie. Yes, I did just pun the living crap out of the title of movie. This movie had somewhat weak leads but the side characters were outstanding. The reprogrammed droid K-2SO is the Droid we’ve been looking for. He delivers the targeted and well timed humor to break up the darker and more action packed sequences. The two Jedi Temple guardians are outstanding as well.
One issue I had and I’m others did too; this movie bounces around from planet to planet quite often early in the film. That made the whole experience a little jolting initially and really nothing settles in until the end portion of the film that takes place in some Caribbean resort. They stuck around that locale for a while, now didn’t they 😉 You may remember I was hard on Force Awakens because I felt like the regurgitated old plot lines, and Rogue One regurgitated a fair amount of dialog. “Red One beginning our attack run… watch those towers and look out for fighters”. Yes this was almost verbatim from a New Hope. That’s OK I suppose, Rogue One is worth a look and I hope Disney feels compelled to take a few risks on future movies like they did on this one.